MILLENNIUM offers a panoramic sweep over the last 1,000 years and the people, events and achievements that shaped the world.
The 10, one-hour episodes of MILLENNIUM are extraordinary in their range of vision and compelling in their presentation. Yet MILLENNIUM is neither chronological nor all-encompassing. Instead, it is eclectic, a pastiche of things great -- or small -- that sculpted the world.
Each of the 10 episodes of MILLENNIUM focuses on a single century, brought to life by five vignettes from five different locations worldwide.
Inspired by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto's book, "Millennium," and filmed in 28 countries, the series is as geographically far-ranging as the world it covers. Its producers and crews spent more than two years and traveled 100,000 miles gathering footage. MILLENNIUM reconstructs the visual images of past ages using this footage, along with vivid re-enactments and computer-generated graphic animation.
MILLENNIUM is peopled with the interesting and the provocative, among them: Native Americans who built canyon housing complexes and Ethiopians who carved churches from solid rock in the 12th century; Genghis Khan, whose 13th century Mongol warriors conquered and united central Asia; Timur, who rose from sheep-stealer to conqueror and expanded Islam's empire in the 14th century; Christopher Columbus, whose 15th century voyage changed the world; African slaves taken from their homeland to serve the Americas' new colonies in the 17th century; French explorers who endured the Arctic's cold in the 18th century; Charles Darwin, whose theories of evolution challenged the 19th century's religious certainties; and the 20th century's superstars, including Charlie Chaplin and Princess Diana.
Woven into MILLENNIUM's tapestry are details that will probably surprise and may enlighten. Eleventh century China had printing, gunpowder and the waterclock. One thousand years ago, two Japanese women wrote two of the world's greatest books, "The Tales of Genji" and "The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon." In the 15th century, Chinese Admiral Zheng He's naval fleet boasted the largest wooden ships ever built. In 18th century France, the game of chess symbolized revolution because a pawn can capture a king.
Academy Award-winning actor Ben Kingsley narrates MILLENNIUM, and Sir Jeremy Isaacs, award-winning filmmaker of "The World at War" and CNN's "Cold War," and Pat Mitchell, president of CNN Productions and Time Inc. Television, are its executive producers. Bernard Heyes, broadcast designer and art director, was in charge of graphic design and animation. Richard Blackford composed the original musical score for the series.
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